Friday, November 30, 2007

Liebman spreads the joy

Last night was District 26's turn to get the Power Point Presentation of the explanation of the School Grade from Joe Liebman and staff. I must say that the Power Point Presentation was a bunch of crap. It was another attempt to show us the powerless parents just how well the DOE is facing accountability in schools without taking into effect how a school is run. The more they talked the more I sat there knowing that they had absolutely no clue on what it takes to be an educator, a Principal or a student. Nothing not one word was said on how a school could improve but said that the data shows that there is a need for improvement. They did not say they would give a school money to improve, decrease class size to improve but they did say you would get credit for taking in children that need improvement. ie: special ed. student, ELL Students etc. So lets get this right. The only way we can improve is if we take in students that are low in proficiency and then improve them and then our scores can go up. But with that won't come money for giving them the services they need.
Every time a question was asked Liebman or one of his staff would run to the lap top to show us a graph or a chart on how improvement has been shown. You know we did not want to see an presentation we wanted answers that were not given.
The point was mentioned that during Quality Reviews Principals hand pick who is on the panel and that a true voice of the schools are not represented and Liebman said that was not true that Quality Reviewers asked other parents questions whether it be on the subway ride over or in the halls. Oh sure I believe that. Remind me the next time there is a Quality Review at my school that I hold a sign on the subway and ask are you coming to do a Quality Review at my school please ask me a question.
At one point when Santi as he wanted to be called presented his part of the presentation he said something about the fact that if there are 20 children in your class. Now let me see 20 children in your class. Is he speaking about a Public School? I mean a Public School in New York city or does he believe that in District 26 we are damn elite that we only have 20 children per class. Last I checked there were 30 in my sons class and the high school well lets not go there.
Lastly I want to give a big hand to the two Principals who were in attendance last night. Bravo ladies you did a wonderful job explaining to the Liebman staff just how out of the loop they are.

Almost forgot the NAEP scores were brought up also and shown to be stagnant and of course Liebman said that was not true and that we can't believe everything we read in the press since they don't control what the press says. Liebman gave the ole party line on how well African-American and Hispanic Students fared. I guess they don't read the same stats that we do.

disclaimer: I have not double checked the spelling or grammatical errors and I am still in shock over the non answers.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Bloomberg and cell phones

The one and only reason that Mike Bloomberg and Joel Klein are against cell phones in schools is because Joel can not keep his damn hands and eyes off of his Blackberry at every single moment of the day. I guess they figure if Joel is so damn addicted to his, children would be too.

Small Class size in the news again

Last night NY1 did a story about class-size reduction, ironically right after Joel Klein spewed his take on how everything is working just fine and dandy.
Now I don't want to say that the plan to reduce class size is not valid, because I have been a cheerleader for this proposal about the same time the CFE lawsuit began. What I want to say is being in this "game" for years and having been through the large classes with my children, all I hear is the same rhetoric and nothing being done about it.
Robert Jackson said "lets tell the mother with a child sitting in a class size off 33 she has to wait 4 more years for reduced class size", well Mr. Jackson I was told the same thing over 10 years ago. Hmm wonder if they meant dog years. I was told the plan would come into full effect in 4 years and that money would be funneled down from Albany to make the plan come into fruition. It did in a kind a sorta of way, the plan is that K would have a class size no larger than 20 but we all know that there are kindergarten classes much larger than that..
I want to know when we are going to stop hearing 4 more years and start seeing results. Real results not team teaching, a para in the room but a true ratio of 1-20. Our children don't have 4 more years to wait.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

What I am grateful for this Thanksgiving

I am thankful that the Mayor took over the school system and made Joel Klein chancellor. Without them we would not have the smallest class size in the nation. Our children would not have scored the highest in the nation on the NAEP. Our valuable senior teachers would not have the fantastic support they have been receiving and being there they are doing a wonderful job mentoring our new teachers. The ones that would have run to the hills a long time ago without the guiding hand of the senior teachers.
I am grateful that the Mayor has decided that Parents do understand the undertaking of how a school building has run by being on CEC's, and SLT's and that they have been listening to our concerns, without having to bribe our children to attain the impossible. I am grateful for all the new schools campuses that have been built and not on toxic sites since they have decided that it is just not worth the risk to our children.
I am so ever grateful that the Mayor overturned the cellphone ban knowing how important it is for parents to be able to contact their children after school. Last and not least I am grateful that the Mayor found out that teaching to the test does not work.

Friday, November 16, 2007

All Lies

It is amazing (not really though) how the DOE can spin crappy national scores on the NAEP's into a great thing. I was going to comment on the scores yesterday but I was waiting on the DOE spin misters to get to their spin before I did comment.
The tests show that there has been no significant change in NYC since 2002 (ironically before Bloomberg took control) , none but according to the DOE spin we did much better according to the DOE site and the press release we made impressive gains. Impressive to whom?
Not to me, but then I learned how to read between the DOE spin lines years ago.

“These national test results confirm that our reforms have helped raise performance to an historically high level,” Chancellor Klein said

Don't pat yourself to hard on the back now Joel. I am sure your so called reforms will be changed again tomorrow when someone whispers in your ear that achievement is really at an all low and you can no longer lie about the results.

By the way Joel the deadline for giving the class size data has passed on November 15th. Supposedly you say that you don't have accurate detailed information and cannot verify the information from the schools.
What are you waiting for and why is it the DOE can get away with holding that information at the expense of our children.

Would that be because you don't want the State to know that with all your talk about reducing class size is another big lie.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Quote of the Day

“More money and smaller class sizes alone aren't the answer to improving schools, Chris Cerf, New York City Department of Education deputy chancellor, told Delaware educators, policy makers and business leaders Friday. Rather, bold reforms that challenge the current education system are required to make the kind of drastic improvements needed, he said. "We're trapped in a comfortable cycle of incrementalism," Cerf said, later issuing the challenge, "Think about the possibility of change. Be courageous. ... Be willing to take the heat. You have to be unapologetic."

Chris can you please tell me when those bold reforms are going to take place. In the 6 years the Mayor has been in charge all I have seen are plans made and then changed and then made and then minds changed again. There has not been one bold reform and no one but the teachers have been courageous, okay the students too. You should be apologetic to all those who had faith in your Edison Schools we all remember how well that went.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Dynamic Duo Strike again

In the attempt of trying to understand "Why our children isn't learning", the Dynamic Duo have decided that the only way to engage students is to dangle a fat carrot. or cell phone and some money at them. A cell phone that they can't bring to school but I am sure in their minds it makes perfect sense.
They say that our children are not engaged and had a "focus" (or unfocused group as I call them),to find out just how we can engage our students. Make them more test worthy maybe. How much money did that cost? Maybe if the Dynamic Duo would listen to us in the trenches they would already know how to engage our students. But then after all, what do we know, we are not businessmen we do not know what it is like in the "real" world. So I have some advice (yes once again) for Kleinberg, stop spending money on focus groups, run by millionaires that have no clue what a Public Education is about, on school report cards, what a total waste of money that turned out to be. Not one parent I spoke to are giving any credence to the grades. Stop giving our children more high stake tests and telling them pass them or else you won't get your big fat pay check, and stop wasting money on tracking our students cough $80 million ARIS cough.
Start spending money on small class size, building more schools, hiring more teachers and retaining the ones that we already have, Because any idiot can do that but YOU.

Yoohoo Its me

Okay so wee one is back at school and middle one got a pass on the one Ivy League school. But yahoo the Marines want him. He is going to pass on that offer too.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

An Update

My wee one is sick, he has a virus on top of another ailment so it has been pretty hairy around here.
My middle one because of his size is being recruited for some heavy duty colleges for football scholarships. He can attend the big Ivy Leagues if they give him a full ride.
Meanwhile I am still trying to process how my elementary school with standardized test grades of 100% above grade level garnered a B rating. Not that I am to concerned because it is all Bullshit anyway just a way for the Dynamic Duo to show they care. They care all right, only about themselves.
We gave your school a B so they can improve. Improve on what? If we children are getting high 4's what do you want from us to garner the all elusive A. If this is not an attempt to get us to teach to the test I don't know what is.